Five publishers and Amazon have received dismissal of lawsuits alleging conspiracy to improve book prices, according to details

Five publishers and Amazon have received dismissal of lawsuits alleging conspiracy to improve book p ...

Two antitrust lawsuits against Inc and five major publishers have been dismissed on Thursday, alleging illegally conspiring to fix prices of electronic and traditional books in the United States, causing consumers and bookstores to pay more.

Gregory Woods of the United States has accepted a magistrate judge''s recommendations to postpone both cases against Amazon, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan Publishing Group, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster.

Consumers accused them of signing agreements that let the publishers inflate e-book prices by locking in a 30%"agency" fee for Amazon on each sale, and guaranteeing that Amazon''s prices will not be reduced.

Retail booksellers allege that Amazon had received a "discriminatory discount" on hardbacks, paperbacks, and mass-produced books, causing them to pay higher wholesale prices to publishers, causing book sales to dissipate.

According to the plaintiffs, Amazon has accounted for 90 percent of retail e-book sales and 50 percent of print trade book sales, whereas publishers account for 80 percent of both kinds of books.

Last month, US Magistrate Judge Valerie Figueredo recommended that both cases be dismissed, citing a lack of evidence of collusion.

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In the e-book case, she found it "telling" that the consumers offered "no plausible explanation for why the publishers would have been motivated to participate in a conspiracy that further enhanced Amazon''s dominance as an e-book retailer."

Woods adopted Figueredo''s reasoning in whole. The lawsuits were dismissed without prejudice, meaning the plaintiffs may try rectifying their complaints.

The plaintiffs'' lawyers did not respond to requests for clarification. Amazon had no response.

Bookends & Beginnings, a bookstore in Evanston, Illinois, was the subject of the trade book lawsuit.

The defendants are In re e-Book Antitrust Litigation, US District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 21-00351; Bookends & Beginnings LLC v Inc et al in the same court, No. 21-02584.

Thomson Reuters 2022